I think we can all admit and agree: in spite of all the reading about it, talking about it, normalizing it, and being as open as possible about our experiences with it, some days are better than others living in the age of the Coronavirus.
Peers who are fortunate enough to have some extra time on their hands and emotional stability on their side are quick to make encouraging (albeit often unsolicited) suggestions:
“Now is the time to accomplish all the things you’ve been putting off! Get to know yourself. Start that business. Clean out your house. Do all the projects you’ve had saved on Pinterest for years but haven’t had the chance to start.”
It’s all admittedly beautiful in theory and some days, in spite of yourself, you feel absolutely inspired, completely moved and motivated to join in. You feel a bit of the fire in you.
Then there are the days that it all sounds like complete bullsh*t. You feel like you’re watching a bunch of cartoon animals flutter around, singing songs and tying ribbons as they attempt to orchestrate a shiny, bubblegum fluff response to a worldwide pandemic that has no end in sight.
Finally, there are the days in between. Where you aren’t quite in the mood to jump up and face the day (or life) Energizer-Bunny style, but you don’t want to lie in bed all day and angrily stew.
I’d venture to guess that this is the reality for most of us on most days.
This pandemic has taken a toll on your mind, your body, and your energy. You know that some have it way better than you do through all of this, and some have it way worse. Because of the latter, you feel a responsibility to help others through this time, or at the very least, be semi-productive in your own life. You want to do something. But you’re struggling to find the motivation to do so. In fact, you’re sometimes exhausted.
When none of us has any idea what the future holds or when this might be over, it can be hard to believe that what you do today will have any effect on the future. Or that time means anything at all. Who says things you want to do today can’t be put off until tomorrow, since every day essentially looks exactly the same as the last lately?
On these days, please grant yourself some grace. Remember that something small is great.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a situation where you have both the time and mental space to do so, try one of the healthy tips below to get a little bit more of your energy, enthusiasm, and fire back. They’re easy wins for your brain and body that will help you feel accomplished and keep you moving forward.
When you move forward, you stay positive. And when you stay positive, you get through today so you can do it again tomorrow.
Some simple, energizing tips to get through this pandemic, one day at a time:
1. Start a new daily or weekly wellness habit like yoga or meditation.
2. Start a new daily fitness habit. I personally love 30-day arm, ab, or leg challenges. They are easy to find online and you can usually find an “easy” or “beginner” version that will have you do fewer reps (definitely recommended if you’ve been out of your regular fitness routine due to COVID-19).
Doing anything for 30 days straight right now is bound to give you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
3. Try your hand at a new skill like playing a musical instrument or learning a new language. There are a plethora of free apps and YouTube videos that can assist you with this.
4. Take up a new creative hobby that allows you to get into your “flow” in a (preferably) quiet setting: maybe calligraphy, painting, or flower arranging.
5. Work your brain with math problems or puzzles.
6. Engage in an easy, mindless, but fun outdoor activity: take a walk, shoot a basketball, toss a ball or frisbee with a quarantine buddy.
7. Engage in easy, mindless, but satisfying tasks around the house: doing dishes or laundry, wiping counters, mopping/vacuuming. Yes, this is essentially a list of everyday “chores,” but keeping up with them now is more important than ever for your mental health.
When you stay on top of them, you prove to yourself that, in spite of everything, you are still in control of the space you live in. Bonus points for sanitizing high-touch areas frequently!
8. Just a little bit at a time, organize your piles. Physical ones in the garage or basement, or figurative ones such as notes and photos you have stored on your phone.
9. Take care of yourself. Take a slow, peaceful bath or shower. Give yourself a facial or mani-pedi.
10. Drink up: some tea, kombucha, sparkling water, or lemon ice water. Make this a daily habit if you can!
11. Let the light (and air) in. Open your curtains and your windows to air out your space and fill it with the energy of the outdoors. Sit in a warm, sunny spot while you stretch, read a book, or sip your morning coffee.
12. Bring on the good smells. Light some candles or diffuse some essential oils and breathe deeply.
13. Speaking of good smells: bake or cook something. Then share it!
14. It’s finally springtime (but this applies any time of the year). Bring in some green. Succulents, ivies, and sansevierias (also known as snake plants) are particularly hardy and do well indoors.
15. Build something small like a birdhouse, shelf, house number sign, or bookends.
16. And finally, if and when you’re able to get some of your own energy back, you can turn it into energy for helping others. Find a template or video online and make face masks for essential workers or those most vulnerable to the virus.
17. Put together care packages for people in your neighborhood and drop them on doorsteps.
18. Drop off food to your local pantry. Food insecurity is at an ultimate high right now.
19. Donate to a cause, COVID-related or not. Communities are doing beautiful things and coming together in all sorts of new ways in response to this unprecedented time.
20. Speak kindly to yourself and others. Give everyone a break where you can (yourself included). This is not the time to put pressure, guilt, shame, or undue duress on anyone. Be patient and keep moving forward. Doing so will keep you upbeat and give you more energy than you think.
The best news is that you have today and all the days ahead of you to try any and all of these things. I genuinely hope they help you get some of your energy back and find some peace of mind during this time—and well beyond.